Giovanni Gastel collaborated on the book, Similitudini, recounting the world of ‘made-in-Italy’ through the art of still-life photography

[On the cover: Shooting’s backstage of the book “Similitudini”.

Courtesy Giovanni Gastel]

Not only a great fashion photographer but also a great man, who had the same attitude towards his work and the products he photographed as he had towards people: an open-mindedness and respect which lead him to focus on the essence of things, without ever judging them. I first met him on the occasion of the book publication and exhibition entitled “Similitudini. L’Arte della Calzatura Italiana” (Similitudes. The Art of Italian Shoe-making) see the interview at the link – published by Assocalzaturifici in September 2017: in the interview he talked about his relationship with accessories – since that is how his professional career began, when he started working with trade magazines in the Seventies, photographing shoes and handbags and highlighting details and workmanship. As can be seen from the book, he loved finding similitudes, matching accessories with other objects, finding links with totally different worlds and, in doing so, he succeeded in raising shoes to the status of a work of art. I met Giovanni Gastel once again, in his studio, for an interview for Fashion Illustrated on the subject of fashion and cinema, subjects which, as the nephew of the great film director Luchino Visconti, were equally dear to his heart. On that occasion, purely by chance and totally unexpectedly, his brother, Giovanni Lucchini, – formerly an assistant to his uncle and now documentary-maker and creator of a line of shirts – was also present. The meeting was full of anecdotes and memories, during which Giovanni Gastel compared his own aesthetic sense with that of his uncle, fruit of a profound culture, innate elegance and love of beauty. Gastel always dressed impeccably, although he said he didn’t give it a lot of thought. But shoes? “Unlike my father, who was a real dandy – answered Giovanni – to the extent that he designed his own shoes – I don’t have my shoes made to measure and am loyal to a select number of brands. It’s the same as with the fashion models: when you work a lot in the fashion world, in private you react in the opposite way”.

Flavia Colli Franzone